I'm not a traditionally religious person. I don't belong to any church or assign myself any labels. However I do strongly believe that existence has a spiritual dimension. I'm happy to absorb the insights of any religion or teacher when they strike me as "true".
For many years I have subscribed to a monthly magazine called Daily Word. It is published by an organization called Unity, a non-denominational Christian group that emphasizes the core of Spirit within each of us. Daily Word is a pocket-sized booklet that offers a word, a meditation and a Scripture quote for each day of the month. I try very hard to set aside ten or fifteen minutes every morning to read and ponder the day's word and message.
Today's word (I'm writing this on Friday the 27th) is "grace". This is one of my favorite messages. Grace is the goodness that we all experience, without having to earn it. It's a continuous flow of blessings that rain down on us, which we can discern clearly if we really open our eyes. In particular, it's comfort in the time of trouble, healing and peace in the midst of turmoil.
You've probably heard the term "grace under fire". This is a different side of what I think is the same concept. "Grace under fire" means acting with strength, power and integrity when the situation makes it really difficult. I have a friend who just finished her radiation treatments after a radical mastectomy. She's smiling and sent me pictures of her family's mountain vacation. That's grace under fire. I recently read a post by a fellow author about her struggle to write even when she's in the grip of clinical depression. That's grace under fire, too.
That kind of inner certainty is something I aspire to.
Of course, "grace" also has a physical meaning, in the sense of elegant, flowing, economical movement. As a dancer, I aspire to that sort of grace as well. Sometimes I achieve it, and when I do, I know that it's because I've tapped into my inner reservoir of beauty.
Years ago, I was soul-searching (a lifetime occupation) and decided that I needed to articulate a vision for my life. What was I trying to achieve? How did I see my few decades on earth. My answer was the following poem, which touches on this same concept of grace.
VisionMy life will be a dance.
I will try to tread lightly,
joyfultouching but not trampling.I will trust my partners
and be trustworthy in return,Follow through, complete the steps. I will dance abundance
accepted and shared;
peace and wonder,
Remember the dance
flows from inside out,
spirit to body
and out to the world,
And that all, spirit, body and world
Even when solo, know
that I dance a part
in a larger pattern.
some increase of joy,
some greater beauty.
I guess I found some kernel of truth then, because when I read this now, this is still my vision: to walk lightly - gracefully (i.e. full of grace) - through the world, focusing on the positive, celebrating love and beauty wherever I find them.